Simhat Torah Honorees

Each year the Jacksonville Jewish Center invites the congregation and friends from the community to help us celebrate deserving members of our Center family. This year we invite the entire congregation to show their support on Simhat Torah, Friday, October 13 at 9:00 AM as these notable individuals are called for their special honors to the Torah. This year we are proud to honor:

Faye Hedrick - Aishet Hayil

A graduate of the JJC Futures Leadership Development Initiative, designed to educate and prepare future leaders of the synagogue, Faye Hedrick has given back to her community in significant ways.  She currently serves on the Jacksonville Jewish Center's Executive Board in the role of Vice President of Programming.  Additionally, she is the Vice President of Membership for the Galinsky Academy PTA board, and co-volunteers as a Room-Parent Coordinator. She has been a member of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School Education Committee, the Religious Life Committee, and the Hesed Committee. Faye is currently helping to plan the L'Dor V'Dor Annual Giving Event, scheduled for March 18th, 2018 honoring the 75th anniversary of The DuBow Preschool.

Outside of the Center and in the larger Jewish and Jacksonville communities, Faye serves on the PJ Library planning committee to help organize events, build community engagement, and raise funds for this organization’s programs and services.  In addition, she has taught school for several years while helping lead an initiative aimed at developing a new mission statement and path for Character Education at the school. 

Faye, her husband Dan, Milly and Ellen are proud to be active members at the Jacksonville Jewish Center, where she has been a member her entire life. After having her first daughter, Milly, she stopped teaching full-time and began tutoring part-time with a specific focus on the Singapore Math curriculum.  Ellen, her youngest child, is currently a student at the DuBow Preschool in the Parparim Class.   

William (Billy) Wilensky - Hatan Bereishit

A native of Jacksonville, Billy Wilensky is a life-long member of the Center.  He has fond memories of the synagogue’s home on 3rd and Silver, where he studied with Mr. Zucker and Mr. Gross, and celebrated his bar mitzvah with Rabbi Moshe Goldblum in 1961.  After completing high school at the Roosevelt School in Stamford, Connecticut, Billy returned to Jacksonville and worked for Wilensky Enterprises in the field of property management.  A passionate advocate of scouting, Billy spent many years as a member of the Jacksonville Jewish Center’s own Troop #14, where he achieved the rank of Star, and earned the Order of the Arrow, which recognizes scouts who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives.  During the 1970s and 80s Billy also served as the Assistant Scoutmaster to Troop #14.

Imbued with the ideals of scouting, Billy has always had a desire to help others.  He attends minyan at the Center no fewer than 6 or 7 times a week, and often more frequently than that.  He does so without ever having to be asked and with no fanfare.   He explains his commitment to services as follows: “I feel good when I can make a minyan and know that I’m helping folks who couldn’t say Kaddish otherwise.”

In his spare time, Billy enjoys musicals, the New York Yankees and, of course, the Gators.  One thing many people do not know about him is that he is an accomplished ballroom dancer, having won five Arthur Murray championships!  Billy’s family in Jacksonville includes his brother, Judge Daniel Wilensky of the Florida 4th Circuit, sister-in-law Cathy, nephews Jesse and Life, and nieces Mari and Tess.

Debby Kaye - Kallat Torah

Debby Kaye has been a member of the Jacksonville Jewish Center for 37 years and currently serves as one of the Executive Vice Presidents. She is married to Don and has two children: Abby Pinsky who lives in Scotch Plain, NJ with her husband David and their 7 children, and Jesse Rauchwarger who lives in Jacksonville with his wife Alicia and their two children, who are DuBow Preschool students.

Abby and Jesse’s lives were truly enriched by their attendance at the JJC preschool, day school, religious school, camp and youth programs over the years so when asked to join the Galinsky Academy Cabinet several years ago, Debby was happy serve as a way of giving back to the community that helped shape her children’s lives. Eventually, she became the Vice President of Education working closely with a wonderful team of professional and lay leaders.

Debby is a native of Philadelphia and moved to Jacksonville after graduating from Temple University. With twenty nine years of experience in higher education administration and counseling, she retired after 13 years as Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services at the University of North Florida, where she received her Master of Education degree.

During her tenure in higher education, Debby provided leadership for admissions, records and registration, academic advising, financial aid and scholarship programs, one stop
student services center, and veterans’ affairs. She also provided oversight for the College of Education’s academic advising and internship programs.

Since 2004, Debby has developed an educational consulting business helping families navigate the high school and college admission process and she is thrilled to have been
able to help many of our Center families along the way. In addition to her service to the Jacksonville Jewish Center, Debby is an active volunteer with Leadership Jacksonville and serves as a board member of River Garden Senior Services.